Fischer fires Ajax clear
Danish teenager Viktor Fischer scored twice as Ajax beat NEC 4-1 to go three points clear at the top of the Dutch league on Sunday. Ajax have 60 points from 28 matches, three more than PSV Eindhoven, who drew 2-2 at Roda JC Kerkrade, and Vitesse, who won 2-1 at home to PEC Zwolle. Feyenoord slipped to fourth with 56 points following their 2-0 defeat at SC Heerenveen on Saturday. Fischer opened the scoring for hosts Ajax after 21 minutes when the 18-year-old picked up a pass from Siem de Jong and broke through the center of the defense, before an own-goal by Rens van Eijden doubled the lead. Fischer added the third 13 minutes from time with a superb lob from outside the area, while Ryan Babel scored Ajax’s fourth after Nick van der Velden pulled one back for the visitors. PSV seemed on track to stay in touch with the leaders when Ola Toivonen replied with a first-half brace after Frank Demouge had headed Roda in front in the 13th minute. However, Sanharib Malki salvaged a point for lowly Roda three minutes from time after finishing off a pass from Mikolaj Lebedynski. First-half goals by Wilfried Bony and Mike Havenaar proved sufficient for Vitesse in their 2-1 win over Zwolle, who pulled one back through Arsenio Valpoort in the 78th minute.
Beaten Anzhi drop to third
Russian Premier League big-spenders Anzhi Makhachkala failed to narrow the gap on leaders CSKA Moscow and dropped to third place following a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of hosts Krasnodar on Sunday. CSKA, who were due to play bottom-placed Alania Vladikavkaz yesterday, top the table with 49 points from 21 matches, five points ahead of the second-placed reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg. Anzhi now sit third on 42 points. Krasnodar’s Brazilian midfielder Francisco Wanderson opened the scoring in the 34th minute, netting from close range from Vladislav Ignatyev’s cross from the right. Another Brazilian midfielder, Joaozinho, made it 2-0 just two minutes into the second half after a mix-up in the Anzhi defense, before two close-range headers saw Wanderson complete his hat-trick. Meanwhile, Zenit beat Terek Grozny 3-0 at Makhachkala’s Anzhi Arena to leapfrog Anzhi into second place. Terek were ordered to play a home match at a neutral venue after Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is also the club’s boss, taunted the referee of Terek’s previous league match against Rubin Kazan over the stadium’s loudspeaker system. Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel lifted Zenit 1-0 up in the eighth minute with an unopposed close-range header from Brazilian Hulk’s corner. Portuguese fullback Bruno Alves increased Zenit’s advantage in the 58th minute, firing home after Viktor Faizulin’s precise lobbed pass into the area. Midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov rounded off the scoring when he netted Zenit’s third in stoppage-time.
Panathinaikos fire Gonzalez
Greek Super League club Panathinaikos announced on Sunday that they had fired Spanish coach Fabri Gonzalez as the financially troubled Athens club suffers one of their worst seasons in the domestic league. The team announced that assistant coach Giannis Vonortas would manage the team for the remaining four matches of the season and possibly in the playoffs, becoming the fourth coach in the campaign, equaling a club record set in the 2004-2005 season. Gonzalez, 58, joined Panathinaikos in January, but failed to lift the team beyond their current sixth place in the league and Saturday’s 1-0 loss at home to Platanias was the last straw.